Five artworks by Annalee Schorr on the gallery wall.
Art Exhibition

Wrapped in Meaning

Nov 4, 2023 – Jan 6, 2024

exhibit description

For Wrapped in Meaning, artists Annalee Schorr (CO) and Shelby Shadwell (WY) both create work inspired by metallic Mylar space blankets. Shelby creates large-scale charcoal drawings where the reflective surfaces shimmer and shine and Annalee uses the blankets as her canvases, utilizing the folds in the blankets as a grid to paint and apply duct tape to create patterns referencing quilts and woven textiles.

Click here to view virtual exhibit.

AnnaLee Schorr

Navajo Style Blanket painted on a Mylar silver space blanket.
Navajo Blanket
Mexican style design painted on a silver Mylar space blanket.
Mexican Serape

Artist Statement

My paintings on emergency blankets are based on warmth-giving textiles—Mexican and Guatemalan serapes, Navajo blankets, and traditional quilts. The paintings are meant to remind us of the basic human
need for warmth. Emergency blankets are used in dire situations—at border crossings by refugees and immigrants, by survivors of fires and floods, by homeless people, by anyone needing coverage during unexpected circumstances.
The serape paintings remind us of the refugees trying to cross our southern border, evading border patrols and walls. The traditional quilt paintings evoke the women over the ages who made quilts, usually colorful and imaginative in spite of sad lives and poverty.
Made of aluminized polymer, emergency blankets look fragile, flimsy, and unreliable, but are in fact tough and substantial. Small packets open to a blanket, with a folded-in grid the size of the original package. I utilize this grid in my geometric paintings.

Shelby Shadwell

Charcoal drawing of a scrunched up Mylar space blanket.
Space Blanket 7

Artist Statement

I make large scale charcoal and pastel drawings of space blankets (aka solar blankets, emergency blankets, thermal blankets, etc.) which are made of a compact lightweight material used to regulate temperatures of things like spacecraft and human bodies in cold circumstances. One might see them packed in a first aid kit for camping or, more poignantly in recent years, wrapped around migrants detained in camps near the border between the US and Mexico. While the material is cheap and rather flimsy, it has a brilliant sparkling appearance reminiscent of precious stones or metals, thus evoking a something like “fool’s gold.” Due to its similarity to material found at the crash site near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947, the blankets may also refer to a shared cultural fascination with space travel and the possible existence of extraterrestrial life. The subject also maintains themes from previous bodies of work such as the representation of abstract folds and contours in the material can evoke pareidolia, or the perception of recognizable form in a random conglomeration or formation of things. I maintain an interest in the implications of how the human mind, as a kind of inference engine, seeks to find patterns where they may or may not exist and how that can lead to the proliferation of things like conspiracy theories.


Annalee Schorr

Denver, CO | Website

Annalee was born in Pueblo, Colorado, in 1940. When she moved to England with her husband and two children in 1967, her world broadened, and she immersed herself in art and history.

​When she returned to the States, she intended to pursue a career in environmental activism. However, on a whim she took an art class, and serendipity took over. She began painting 20 hours every week, and despite having no formal art training, landed her first solo exhibit at Denver’s Brena Gallery in 1978. Since then, Annalee has maintained a steady art career, and in her free time travels the world extensively (48 countries so far).

Shelby Shadwell

Laramie, WY | Website

Shelby is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Wyoming. Born and raised in Springfield, Missouri, Shelby received his BFA in 2003 from Washington University in St. Louis and his MFA in 2006 from Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

A two-time recipient of the Visual Arts Fellowship from the Wyoming Arts Council, Shelby actively exhibits across the nation. His more recent exhibitions include LIKE AND SHARE IF YOU AGREE!!!, a solo show at the South Bend Museum of Art, DRAWN at Manifest Creative Research Gallery in Cincinnati, OH, and Drawing Discourse at the University of North Carolina Asheville. Shelby was awarded a solo exhibition at the APEX Space at the Portland Art Museum in OR in 2016, and his work is included in their permanent collection. For his research sabbatical from 2021 – 2022, Shelby accepted the Manifest Artist Residency Award, and he spent the year making new work at their Gallery and collaborating on educational opportunities at their Drawing Center in Cincinnati, OH.

Shelby was recently honored with the Stone & Deguire Contemporary Art Award in the amount of $25,000 from his alma mater, Washington University in St. Louis.